November 22, 2013 7:00 PM (EST)
Transcript (Although may not be in exact order as originally posted):
What advice would you give to an aspiring musician, with the music industry being so competitive and difficult to break into?
Just tell your story. Don’t chase trends. Even professional trend chasers can’t figure the next wave out. Be you, through and through. And wait for the cycle to shift your way.
Which do prefer, when you have long hair or short hair?
Long hair when it’s short, short hair when it’s long. Right ladies?
You’ve collaborated with Kanye, Jay-Z, common, etc. Do you find yourself wanting to have any type of presence in the hip hop community? Who else in that community would you prefer to work with?
I’ve never tried to deliberately make a name for myself in the hip hop world. I just think that more than any other genre right now, hip hop is the most “open source,” musically. I can play blues over hip hop better and easier than I could over almost any pop music. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing guitar has been on hip hop sessions. I can give you a few reasons why hip hop and the Grateful Dead have a lot in common.
Is there still a grail watch you have yet to acquire?
"Get one grail, another starts shinin’." 0 Me, just now.
Were a good singer since you were a child?
I wasn’t even a good singer on Room for Squares.
Are you a fan of Ed Sheeran? I saw in an interview of his that he really looks up to you as an artist.
Huge fan of Ed. As a person and as an artist. I thought he was the best performer at the Grammys this past year.
Is there anyone that you’ve longed to work with but haven’t already?
Yes, and this isn’t usually a name I mention, but Eddie Vedder would be my dream collaboration. I have always loved that guy’s music. He’s at living legend status, as far as I’m concerned.
If you could pick anyone (dead or alive) to join you for dinner, who would you pick?
I would pick someone alive.
What do you think of current pop music?
I think “___________”
and then I think “stay out of this, grandpa.”
What is the one thing you would want people to know about being a traveling musician?
Great question. The answer is that fundamentally, humans aren’t meant to travel like musicians do. At the core of it, it goes against the way people like to live, in communities, with rituals, with family. I think it’s a really difficult balance to strike between traveling for a living and making sure that you can get home and keep a normal life going. I’ve been saying lately, people only OD in hotel rooms. You never heard of someone ODing in a rental hourse in Hawaii, or on a couch by their dog.
What is the most rewarding part of your career?
It’s a tie between walking out of the studio knowing I just created a great song and walking out of the venue knowing for sure I have the crown a show they’re glad they came to.
Were there times of frustration when you were learning to play the guitar or did it come easily to you?
I was lucky in that I found something that mostly came easy to me, and when it didn’t, it was fun to work it out. The frustration came from other people learning to live with my learning to play the guitar.
Dear John, have you read any works by French poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)? To me, his writing is the only thing that can compete with your music.
Why no I haven’t, but on the bright side, over 300 thousand followers are now aware that you are very well read.
Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses?
I believe the late General “Stormin” Norman Schwarzkopf addressed this in his autobiography “It Doesn’t Take a Hero.” The answer is one horse sized duck, and you close distance quickly and attack soft tissue.
What does not surprise you anymore?
Oh, what a great question. Let me try and word this right… I don’t get surprised anymore by people’s phony cynicism.
Which song is the next single?
"Who You Love." It’s going to get full-blown single/video treatment. Which it really deserves. Most songs fall off a bit in terms of my opinion of them as the months go by, but Who You Love is really an excellent song, performance, recording. It’s good on every listen. A little tough in that the tune is a throwback slow groove, but quality beats a trend, at least in the way I like to believe in music.
Are you a morning or night person?
I’m a night person, however lately the jet lap from tour has me up at about 8am. I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but I really like the vibe of being a morning person. It’ll be gone in a week or so. So sad.
Do you like lorde?
I like Lorde a lot. I just hope she gets the opportunity to keep growing as an artist and not just shot through the 12-month rags-to-riches-to seven Grammys machine and not heard from again. She’s too good for that.
Is there anything with your guitar playing that you feel still eludes you?
Every song I play guitar on, I’m looking for the big wave. Most of the time I feel like I’m resigned to surfing the smaller one… but I keep looking, and that’s the only thing that matters.
Which album did you like writing?
I’ve loved writing all of them, (in some love/hate way) but the one I will always remember as a real revelation in terms of watching the songs just flow out was Born and Raised. That was an experience I’ll never forget.
What have been your favourite albums this year?
Don’t get technical on me over release dates, but the one I love the most this year has been the Lord Huron album. I think that probably has the most plays. Night Beds, too.
As a songwriter, this is an evil question to think of…but what song are you most proud of and what is your least favourite song?
I’m most proud of Stop This Train, and my least favorite? I wish War of My Life on the Battle Studies album had turned out better. I love that seed of an idea and I don’t think it bloomed the way I wanted it to. But that’s how it goes. They all seem amazing on the way out the door…
If you went back to ‘05/’06 and showed your past self Paradise Valley, how do you think ‘you’ would respond?
Good question. Great one actually. My first answer, without an hour to think more about it, would be that I would probably ask where all the chord changes went. In comparison to my older stuff, it’s a lot less complex in terms of harmonic movement, but that’s part of what makes it feel so open and deep to me now.
Can you send a selfie? It would make my day (:
(see separate post)
Would you ever let an audience create your entire set list from scratch after you’d already taken the stage?
I absolutely would. I just don’t know how the audience is going to come to an agreement as to what they want to hear.
Is it easier write songs with bad mood or good mood?
For me, I only write songs in one mood: ready to write a song mood. That’s a very encouraged, inspired, creative space. I can pull up the bad moods, the sadness from that vantage point, but I’ve never entered an anger trance and come to with a big fat song. I have to be really present and centered to make it happen.
What was the song that made you want to play blues?
It was “Body and Soul” performed by Benny Goodman, on my dad’s Smithsonian Jazz cassette collection.
John, What advice would you give someone who’s trying to make the next step as a songwriter?
Write about that.
You’ll probably never answer my questions but I rather go on a limp and ask stupid questions.
Actually this question is brilliant.
Do you have private shows for Katy?
All my shows for Katy are ticketed through AEG and can be bought at a discounted rate for all Diner’s Club International card holders.
If you had advice for a musician starting out in an entertainment driven city (L.A., NYC, Nashville, etc.), would would it be?
Be patient. Get good first. Then go out and get great without being distracted, even by people telling you you’re great.
In closing the Q&A -
Thanks everyone for participating and reading along. I hope we get to do this again sometime. Hey, you guys remember AOL in 1996, when there were chats, and there was a moderator named Bev and she would play host to the person people were chatting with, and then Bev would say something like “well that’s all the time we have, many thanks to John Mayer for being here and you all for participating”? I’ll be Bev in this scenario and thank Tumblr for having me, and you guys for being a part of this. Hope to see you out on the road or inside your computer soon. Lots of love, and happy holidays.
There’s absolutely no doubt that #JohnMayerisBack!
Great city, great weather, great friends and an incredible performance by both Phillip Phillips and The Man, John C Mayer himself!
The event had finally arrived, giving me an opportunity to meet three JM great friends in-person for the first time and watching our guy together for an incredible evening. All of my fears and concerns as to whether he’d make it back from his granuloma, faded instantly with the first note he sang. Well, he had me at hello from the start…..
If you’ve never experienced a John Mayer concert, or have never really had any interest to, you’re missing out on yet another new level he has achieved. The man is ever-evolving with great songs and vocals. No matter the genre, it’s pure heaven from this incredible singer/songwriter and ALWAYS a beautiful surprise.
He’s already “arrived,” but has now taken the stage front and center even happier and at peace with his life and who he is as a person and artist. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
Here’s wishing John and all of his fans a great Born and Raised tour!
Queen of California
Lay Down Sally
Half of My Heart
Speak for Me
I Don’t Trust Myself
If I Ever Get Around to Living
Your Body is a Wonderland
Something Like Olivia
Waiting on the World to Change
Age of Worry
Waiting on the Day
Born and Raised
Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room